Archive for the ‘Obama and Turkey’ category

NATO Ally Turkey Working with U.S. Muslim Brotherhood

April 4, 2017

NATO Ally Turkey Working with U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, Center for Security Policy, April 3, 2017

Osama Abu-Irshaid (National Director of American Muslims for Palestine, AMP, a founding member of the USCMO), USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal (center) and Naeem Baig (President of the Islamic Center of North America, ICNA, a founding member of the USCMO) outside AK Party Headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, during an August 2014 visit

While the Center for Security Policy has followed the activities of the USCMO, MLFA and AMJA, the realization of just how closely the Turkish government at the highest level is working in collusion with these Muslim Brotherhood-associated groups to thwart any legal measures that may be directed their way by the new Trump administration and Department of Justice led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions still comes as something of a shock. The U.S. Brotherhood and its international partners were way ahead of the Trump team in foreseeing a possible renewal of legal risk and liability under this new management and began taking steps to confront it. They bring significant financial and legal resources to the fight, plus, as we now see, state-level backing from NATO member Turkey whose pro-HAMAS stance has long been known.

But given that an official organization of the Ankara regime is now operating a large Center (with numerous associated centers and mosques) barely thirteen miles from the U.S. Capitol and working there in collaboration with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood to thwart possible legal actions by the U.S. government is certainly noteworthy. As the international as well as U.S. Muslim Brotherhood gear up for coming confrontations, so must U.S. national security leadership as well.

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During the 2016 U.S presidential campaign, senior leadership figures of the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) began strategic planning to ensure the advancement and protection of the group’s objectives, no matter who won the White House. USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal and HAMAS dba Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad set plans in motion to defend the Muslim Brotherhood’s Civilization Jihad inside the U.S. Those objectives were first exposed and described in the Center’s 2015 publication, in Star Spangled Shariah: The Rise of America’s First Muslim Brotherhood Party.

Joining directly in those efforts then and now is the pro-HAMAS Turkish government, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). The groundwork for what is now a close working relationship began well before the March 2014 announcement of the USCMO’s formation, but it is known that on 15 May 2013, a visiting President Erdoğan placed a ceremonial stone on the 16-acre construction site that would become the Turkish Diyanet Center of America in Lanham, Maryland. The following year, in August 2014, a USCMO delegation led by Secretary General Oussama Jammal traveled to Ankara to meet with President Erdoğan and AK Party leaders. And then, on 29 December 2014, in a recorded video message, Dr. Mehmet Görmez, President of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), addressed the 13th Annual MAS-ICNA (Muslim American Society-Islamic Circle of North America) Conference in Chicago, Illinois and discussed a gift for all Muslims: the Turkish Diyanet Center of America. Of note for the future of the US Muslim Brotherhood-Turkish relationship, this conference was sponsored by the Turkish-backed American Zakat Foundation and included the first-ever attendance of a Turkish-American group at a MAS-ICNA conference.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan shaking hands with USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal during the USCMO delegation reception with Erdoğan in NYC in September 2016
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressing an assembly of US Muslim Brotherhood leadership during the week of the September 2016 UN General Assembly meeting. USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal is in the front row at the far right, Mazen Mokhtar, Executive Director of the Muslim American Society (MAS), can be seen in the middle, and Nihad Awad, CAIR Executive Director, is seated at the far left. Awad also welcomed the Turkish government delegation to CAIR’s WDC headquarters that same week.

It will be recalled that Erdoğan himself joined U.S. President Barack Obama on 2 April 2016 at the opening ceremonies for the Diyanet Center of America, located on a large 16-acre site in Lanham, Maryland. The Diyanet Center, also known as the Turkish American Cultural Center (TACC), is a wholly-owned facility of The Presidency of Religious Affairs, an official state institution of the Turkish government.

Under the Trump administration, the USCMO is especially concerned with legal issues, as calls were heard during the 2016 campaign urging that the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) HAMAS terror funding trial be re-opened to pursue possible cases against the more-than-200 unindicted co-conspirators named by the Department of Justice. Apparently concerned over possible vulnerability should the books of mosques, Islamic Centers and Muslim Brotherhood front groups come under renewed official scrutiny, CAIR and other members of the USCMO therefore engaged the services of the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), itself a founding member of the USCMO.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the first major event to be co-sponsored by the USCMO, TACC and the MLFA in the Trump era will be a 13 May 2017 Muslim Non-Profit Leadership Conference, to be held at the Diyanet Center of America. Among the program topics are Safeguarding 501(c)3 status; Board fiduciary responsibilities; record keeping and disclosure requirements; Fundraising regulations, state registrations, unrelated business income; and Banking regulations, FDIC, DOJ, Watchlists, international charitable giving.

One of the MLFA’s top legal representatives, now working openly with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, is U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander (ret.) Charles Swift, formerly of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Swift, a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, who was recognized by the Muslim Brotherhood for his legal role advocating for client Salim Ahmed Hamdan in the U.S. Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfield 548 US 557 (2006). This role doubtless contributed to the choice of Swift as Director and Counsel for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA), a project of the Muslim Legal Fund of America led by Executive Director Khahil Meek.

The MLFA’s CLCMA project presents itself as dedicated to two primary missions:

    • “Challenging governmental security measures affecting Muslim communities which encroach upon the constitutional liberties guaranteed to all.”
    • “Protecting the rights of Muslim individuals and organizations in the United States to exercise their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights to worship.”
Pictured left to right: “Jihadis in Suits” Nihad Awad, Khalil Meek, Oussama Jammal

In apparent pursuance of these missions, the MLFA continues actively to seek the release from federal prison of defendants in the HLF trial, which concluded in late 2008 with a unanimous guilty verdict on all 108 counts. The MLFA also engages in lawfare, using lawsuits as an offensive means of shutting down opposition to its civilization jihad operations. For example, as noted by the Thomas More Law Center in the 2009 case of Joe KAUFMAN, Appellant, v. ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF ARLINGTON, Texas, Islamic Center of Irving, DFW Islamic Educational Center, Inc., Dar Elsalam Islamic Center, Al Hedayah Islamic Center, Islamic Association of Tarrant County, and Muslim American Society of Dallas, Appellees, No. 2-09-023-CV: “The head of that organization [MLFA], Khalil Meek, admitted on a Muslim radio show that lawsuits were being filed against Kaufman and others to set an example. Indeed, for the last several years, Muslim groups in the U.S. have engaged in the tactic of filing meritless lawsuits to silence any public discussion of Islamic terrorist threats.”

More recently, in response to U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s early March 2017 revised executive order to restrict immigration from six Muslim-majority nations, the MLFA working in conjunction with the USCMO, is referring all Muslims to its “advisory prepared by Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America.” The MLFA may cloak itself in the colors of Star Spangled Shariah as a “constitutional rights organization” but Executive Director Khalil Meek still whines that “We continue to be troubled by this administration’s ongoing attempts to single out Muslims for adverse actions. Such blatant discrimination is a violation of our nation’s constitutional freedoms of speech, expression and religion.”

Finally, it is worth taking note of the following guidance. The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) provides the authoritative juridical backup on Islamic Law (shariah) for the American Muslim community and U.S. Islamic legal organizations such as the MLFA. Addressing the U.S. Muslim community on 28 November 2016, shortly after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, AMJA issued the following bracing statement:

“No one could possibly be unaware of the political storm that has recently overtaken this country…For this reason, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America is addressing the Imams, Islamic workers and the entire Muslim community with permanent values that must be emphasized during this stage as well as a number of principles to be used in dealing with these events, what has happened as well as what is expected to happen…Islam, with respect to its belief and legal foundations, is unalterably fixed. It does not accept any replacement for change. (emphasis added)

While the Center for Security Policy has followed the activities of the USCMO, MLFA and AMJA, the realization of just how closely the Turkish government at the highest level is working in collusion with these Muslim Brotherhood-associated groups to thwart any legal measures that may be directed their way by the new Trump administration and Department of Justice led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions still comes as something of a shock. The U.S. Brotherhood and its international partners were way ahead of the Trump team in foreseeing a possible renewal of legal risk and liability under this new management and began taking steps to confront it. They bring significant financial and legal resources to the fight, plus, as we now see, state-level backing from NATO member Turkey whose pro-HAMAS stance has long been known.

But given that an official organization of the Ankara regime is now operating a large Center (with numerous associated centers and mosques) barely thirteen miles from the U.S. Capitol and working there in collaboration with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood to thwart possible legal actions by the U.S. government is certainly noteworthy. As the international as well as U.S. Muslim Brotherhood gear up for coming confrontations, so must U.S. national security leadership as well.

Brooklyn: Feds raid businessmen linked to Penn. imam blamed for Turkey coup

December 12, 2016

Brooklyn: Feds raid businessmen linked to Penn. imam blamed for Turkey coup, Creeping Sharia, December 12, 2016

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Source: Feds raid businessmen linked to imam blamed for Turkey coup | New York Post

Federal authorities raided a Brooklyn cafe linked to the Pennsylvania imam blamed by Turkey for plotting July’s failed coup attempt in that country.

The feds seized computers from Masal Cafe in Sheepshead Bay — which operates in a portion of the old Lundy’s Restaurant — in October, said a source familiar with the Brooklyn Turkish community and accounts in the Turkish press.

Cafe owner Selahattin Karakus told the Daily Sabah, an English-language newspaper in Turkey, that agents were at his Sheepshead Bay home and the cafe.

“They told me not to talk about this with anyone,” he is quoted as saying.

Karakus, 39, is a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, an imam who fled Turkey in 1999 and lives in self-imposed exile in the Poconos. He heads a moderate religious movement that operates schools and cultural centers around the world, including one in Sheepshead Bay.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Gulen for orchestrating the coup attempt and has demanded that the US extradite him to Turkey. The Turkish government considers Gulen’s movement a terrorist organization.

Gulen has denied involvement in the uprising, which killed more than 250 people.

Since the uprising, Erdogan has expanded a crackdown on the Gulenist movement, with more than 30,000 people arrested or detained and media outlets shuttered.

Shortly after the coup attempt, the Obama administration expressed its support for the Turkish democracy and said it would consider any evidence Erdogan presented to extradite Gulen.

Karakus is considered close enough to Gulen that the reclusive cleric is said to have suggested the name for his restaurant, which has become a meeting place for Gulen supporters, according to press reports. The word “masal” in Turkish means a tale or story.

He is among a number of Gulen adherents who have contributed to political campaigns across the country, according to a 2014 BuzzFeed article. Karakus denied at the time there was an orchestrated attempt at political influence.

He has donated $11,300 to congressional campaigns since 2012 including those of Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke in Brooklyn and Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas. Texas is home to the greatest number of Gulen-backed charter schools.

Karakus has also given $2,500 to Brooklyn Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, a Democrat from Sheepshead Bay. Cymbrowitz’s campaign has spent $130 at the Masal Cafe, records show.

“All I know about a federal raid is what I read in the newspaper. Mr. Karakus has a successful restaurant and is an active member of the Sheepshead Bay merchants’ association,” Cymbrowitz said.

The entity that operates the eatery, Boz Export and Import Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection in September, just days before the FBI raid. The company owes $450,803 in back rent, according to its bankruptcy filing.

Karakus refused to talk to The Post, and his lawyer declined to comment. The FBI would not comment.


Gulen has schools all across the U.S., many of them robbing taxpayers of funds and jobs. Watch: Killing Ed – Charter Schools, Corruption, and the Gülen Movement in America.

As we wrote in this post, Erdogan tells Obama to take care of Pennsylvania-based Islamist Gulen:

Will Obama back Erdogan – who is Islamizing Turkey, or will he back Gulen – who is Islamizing the U.S.?

It looks like Obama will back Gulen after one inning of play…

The Brooklyn raid should confirm that assessment.

Sheepshead Bay is the same Brooklyn neighborhood where Despite 20+ violations, 2 stop orders, Muslims impose mosque on residential Brooklyn neighborhood.

Russia & Turkey carve anti-US enclaves in Syria

October 15, 2016

Russia & Turkey carve anti-US enclaves in Syria, DEBKAfile, October 15, 2016

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US President Barack Obama told Pentagon and military chiefs he met Friday, Oct. on Oct. 14, that instead of arming anti-Assad rebel groups in Syria, Washington was going back to negotiations with Moscow for cooperation in achieving a cessation of hostilities in the Syrian war.

US Secretary of State John Kerry therefore scheduled his umpteenth meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for Saturday in Lausanne. This time, the foreign ministers of Turkey, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and possibly Qatar, tagged along.

Beyond the high words, recriminations and the unspeakable horrors attending the battle for Aleppo, Obama never seriously considered providing the anti-Syrian rebels holed up in Aleppo with the anti-air weapons they need to shoot down the Russian and Syrian warplanes blitzing them – any more than UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s statement that it was time for British military involvement in the Syrian war was for real

Above all, Britain is short of the military heft for backing up hypothetical intentions.

The options for serious Western intervention in the Syrian war are constantly diminishing for the reasons outlined here by DEBKAfile’s military sources:

1.  American missiles have no way of reaching Syrian rebel groups, certainly not those still fighting in eastern Aleppo. Neither Russia, nor Turkey, whose army now controls 5,000 sq. km of northern Syria, would let them through to that destination.

2. Had Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan chosen to do so, he could have simply ordered his army to open up a route for the supply of missiles to the rebels who are hemmed in in Aleppo by Russia, Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah forces. He is withholding that order because the military deals he concluded with President Vladimir Putin last week in Istanbul override any concerns he may have for the fate of those rebels or Aleppo’s population.

3. Those deals in a word sanctify the Turkish “security zone” in northern Syria which is covered by a no-fly zone for all but Russian and Turkish flights. They also provide for the Syrian rebels retreating from the various Syrian war zones, including Aleppo, to be taken in and absorbed in the Turkish enclave. Erdogan would thus become the senior patron of the Syrian opposition rebel movement, barring only the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and other Islamic extremist groups. This would enable him to steal from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar their sponsorship roles and their influence in the anti-Assad movement.

4. Ankara’s military alliance with Moscow is steadily eroding Turkey’s ties with the United States as well as NATO. Matters have gone so far that the two capitals or in advanced discussion of the supply of Russian air defense missiles to the Turkish army.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources reveal that under discussion is the installation in Turkey of a system of advanced Russian missiles linked to the Russian anti-air missile shield under construction in Syria.

Turkey would thus become the first member of NATO to arm itself with a Russian anti-air missile shield.

How was this allowed to happen?

According to our sources, Putin and Erdogan are moving fast to cash in on President Obama’s repugnance for military intervention in Syria and his waning powers at the tail end of his presidency.

Furthermore –

a) Neither is configuring Syrian President Bashar Assad into their calculations. They are going forward with their plans while ignoring him and his drastically diminished army as factors worth consideration.

b)  Their objectives are similar and interlocking:  Both are intent on developing their respective enclaves in northern Syria, Moscow for a long-term military presence in the country: likewise, Ankara.

Up until now, the Obama administration stood firm against the two goals, which is why Washington and Moscow were unable to achieve any real cooperation over a secession of hostilities in the war-torn country;  even when Kerry and Lavrov struck a truce accord on Sept 9, it never held up beyond a few hours.

Most recently, Putin and Erdogan tried signaling the US president that their sole ambitions with regard to Syria’s future lie in the two military enclaves now under construction.

Obama saw this as a sufficient basis to continue withholding advanced arms from Syrian rebel groups and to go for another round of diplomacy with Russia – with Turkey hitching a ride this time on the opposite side of the table..

Putin-Erdogan deal for Syria is ME exit for Obama

September 9, 2016

Putin-Erdogan deal for Syria is ME exit for Obama, DEBKAfile, September 9, 2016

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The fledgling “initiatives” reverberating this week in Washington, Moscow, Ankara, Jerusalem and the G20 summit were nothing but distractions from the quiet deals struck by two lead players, Russia and Turkey to seize control of the region’s affairs. Recep Tayyip Erdogan knew nothing would come of his offer on the G20 sidelines to US President Barack Obama to team up for a joint operation to evict ISIS from Raqqa. And, although Moscow was keen on hosting the first handshake in almost a decade between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), neither were known to be ready for the last step toward a meeting.

But the game-changing events to watch out for took place in Hangzhou without fanfare – namely, the Obama-Putin talks and the far more fruitful encounter between Putin and Erdogan.

According to DEBKAfile’s intelligence and Mid East sources, Putin virtually shut the door on further cooperation with the United States in Syria. He highhandedly informed Obama that he now holds all the high cards for controlling the Syrian conflict, whereas Washington was just about out of the game.

Putin picked up the last cards, our sources disclose, in a secret deal with Erdogan for Russian-Turkish collaboration in charting the next steps in the Middle East.

The G20 therefore, instead of promoting new US-Russian understanding, gave the impetus to a new Russian-Turkish partnership.

Erdogan raked in instant winnings: Before he left China, he had pocketed Putin’s nod to grab a nice, 4,000-sq.km slice of northern Syria, as a “security zone” under the control of the Turkish army and air force, with Russian non-interference guaranteed.

This Turkish zone would include the Syrian towns of Jarablus, Manjib, Azaz and Al-Bab.

Ankara would reciprocate by withdrawing its support from the pro-US and pro-Saudi rebel groups fighting the Assad army and its allies in the area north of Aleppo.

Turkey’s concession gave Putin a selling-point to buy the Syrian ruler assent to Erdogan’s project. Ankara’s selling-point to the West was that the planned security zone would provide a safe haven for Syrian refugees and draw off some of the outflow perturbing Europe.

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It now turns out that, just as the Americans sold the Syrian Kurds down the river to Turkey (when Vice President Joe Biden last month ordered them to withdraw from their lands to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River or lose US support), so too are the Turks now dropping the Syrian rebels they supported in the mud by re-branding them as “terrorists.”

The head of this NATO nation has moreover gone behind America’s back for a deal with the Russian ruler on how to proceed with the next steps of the Syrian conflict.

Therefore, when US Secretary of State John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva Thursday and Friday, Sept. 8-9, for their sixth and seventh abortive sit-downs on the Syrian issue, there was not much left for them to discuss, aside from continuing to coordinate their air traffic over Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.

Washington and Moscow are alike fearful of an accidental collision in the sky in the current inflammable state of relations between the two powers.

As a gesture of warning, a Russian SU-25 fighter jet Tuesday, Sept 6, intercepted a US Navy P8 plane flying on an international route over the Black Sea. When the Russian jet came as close as 12 feet, the US pilots sent out emergency signals – in vain, because the Russian plane’s transponder was switched off. The American plane ended up changing course.

Amid these anomalies, Moscow pressed ahead with preparations to set up a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Thursday.

Putin is keen to succeed where the Obama administration failed. John Kerry abandoned his last effort at peacemaking as a flop two years ago.  But it is hard to see Netanyahu or Abu Mazen rushing to play along with the Russian leader’s plan to demean the US president in the last months of his tenure – especially when no one can tell who will win the November 8 presidential election – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump – or what policies either will pursue.

All the region’s actors will no doubt be watching closely to see how Turkey’s “Russian track” plays out and how long the inveterate opportunists can hang together.

Obama is the Real Turkey in This Scenario

September 6, 2016

Obama is the Real Turkey in This Scenario, Algemeiner, Ruthie Blum, September 6,2016

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It is typical of Obama to condemn the victims of such a travesty. But to describe the failed coup as a re-affirmation of the Turkish people’s “commitment to democracy and the strength and resilience of democratic institutions inside of Turkey” borders on willful lunacy and blindness.

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US President Barack Obama met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday at the G-20 summit in China.

Though the purpose of the two-day gathering was for representatives of governments and central banks to discuss policy issues pertaining to international financial stability, the tete-a-tete between Obama and Erdogan on the sidelines of the forum was not about money. It was, rather, a meeting of the minds on a subject close to the hearts of both NATO allies.

With his Cheshire-cat grin and dead eyes, Obama patted his Turkish counterpart on the back and congratulated him on a job well done. Erdogan had not only survived an attempt to oust him, but had quashed it like a true tyrant. Obama could only look on in awe and envy.

Following their little chat, the two leaders addressed the press at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hangzhou.

“By taking to the streets to resist the coup attempt, the Turkish people once again affirmed their commitment to democracy and the strength and resilience of democratic institutions inside of Turkey,” Obama said. “I indicated at the time the unequivocal condemnation of these actions and spoke personally to President Erdogan to offer any support that we might be able to provide in both ending the attempted coup, but also in investigating and bringing perpetrators of these illegal actions to justice.”

One form this help is going to take, Obama hinted, is the possible extradition to Turkey of controversial cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan claims orchestrated the failed coup from his home of self-exile in Pennsylvania.

Obama also extended his “deepest condolences” to Turkey’s victims of terrorism, and said that he and his pal “Tayyip” had consented “to continue pursuing a peaceful political transition in Syria.”

Erdogan also made a statement, calling the president of the United States “Barack,” before launching into one of his usual self-serving rants. Typical of a violent Islamist appropriating the moral high ground, the Turkish president agreed that fighting terrorism is of utmost importance. But the “terrorists” to whom he mainly referred were Gulen and the Kurds. Groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas — which live by the sword, the rifle and the suicide-bomb are just fine, as far as he is concerned.

Obama did not bat an eyelash, however, indicating that the foreign policy of his nearly eight-year administration is firmly intact. And it still involves being on the wrong side of every conflict, while presenting the bad guys in a favorable light. Turkey is but one of many examples.

Let’s start with the failed coup. Erdogan’s paranoia about Gulen is likely unfounded. If any conspiracy theory is in order, it is that Erdogan himself planned the whole thing, in order to strengthen and legitimize his already suffocating stranglehold on the country.

For years prior to the botched attempt, the Turkish president was gradually purging his society of dissent. No institution was exempt from his wrath, with members of the press and academia being placed under a particularly high-powered microscope. Arresting journalists for daring to publish pieces that exposed his behavior was commonplace well before July 15, the date of the coup. But the practice paled in comparison to what has been taking place across Turkey in the weeks since then. Tens of thousands of citizens whom Erdogan deems a threat to his reign of terror have been fired from their jobs, thrown into prison or both. These include people from the military, the police, the judiciary, the political echelon, the media and the universities.

It is typical of Obama to condemn the victims of such a travesty. But to describe the failed coup as a re-affirmation of the Turkish people’s “commitment to democracy and the strength and resilience of democratic institutions inside of Turkey” borders on willful lunacy and blindness. As was the case with the foiled Green Revolution in Iran, when the newly instated administration in Washington watched from afar as the regime in Tehran gunned down protesters trying to extricate themselves from the mullahs dictating their every move, the White House once again simply watched from afar, and let the forces of evil wreak their havoc uninterrupted.

We now fully grasp what Obama was up to in 2009 — a total capitulation to the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, culminating in last year’s signing of the nuclear deal with the ayatollahs. What he has in store for Turkey during his remaining lame-duck tenure in office remains to be seen. But it won’t be good.

This he made clear in his declaration of cooperation with Erdogan on the Syrian front. Referring to a joint “pursuit of a peaceful political transition” in the war-torn country not only made a mockery of the millions of dead and maimed citizens whose plight barely elicits a yawn any more, but served as a signal to Erdogan that he can proceed with the slaughter of America’s Kurdish allies as he sees fit. You know, all in the name of fighting the Islamic State group, the only bogeyman on which there is wide consensus.

Erdogan’s cross-border attack, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, was launched on Aug. 24 and is still going on. This “peaceful political transition” is being carried out by Turkish planes, tanks and artillery. But Tayyip’s friend Barack — the real turkey in this tale of woe — forgot to mention it.

Erdogan tells US: Stop backing the Kurds

August 30, 2016

Erdogan tells US: Stop backing the Kurds, DEBKAfile, August 30, 2016

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US-Turkish discord over the Turkish army’s onslaught on the Kurds of northern Syria reached a new low Wednesday, Aug. 30, when the presidential palace spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in Ankara: “The US must revise its policy of supporting Kurdish forces.”

The demand came after a senior US official called on “all the armed actors in the fight against the Islamic State in northern Syria to stand down,” in an effort to contain the new conflict dragging northern Syria into further chaos.

The call was addressed equally to Ankara to freeze its military operations in Syria and to the Kurdish PYD-YPG militia to halt the flow of fraternal reinforcements for defending Mabij, the Syrian town the militia wrested from ISIS earlier this month with US assistance.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Turkish army and Kurdish forces are already tensely aligned for a decisive battle over Manbij that will determine the outcome of the Turkish invasion of Aug. 24. President Tayyip Erdogan calculates that a Turkish victory will force the Kurds to retreat to the eastern bank of the Euphrates and away from the Turkish border, while Kurdish leaders are determined to halt the Turkish army at the gates of the town, and so brand the invasion a fiasco and carry off an epic victory.

The Obama administration is making a huge effort to avert this confrontation. In the hope of reining in the Turks, Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Ankara on the day their army crossed the Syrian border and met them halfway by issuing an ultimatum to the Kurds to withdraw to east of the Euphrates or else lose US support.

Unheeding of the US warning, the Kurds went forward to build up their fighting strength and engage the Turkish army.

Ankara suspects that the Americans are continuing notwithstanding to give the Kurds weapons and assistance on the quiet.

Washington fears that a Turkish-Kurdish showdown in Manbij will further destabilize the military situation such as it is in northern Syria and northern Iraq, and all their efforts to persuade the Kurds to lead the ground forces of the coalition offensives against ISIS will go for nothing.

In an earlier report on Monday, DEBKAfile covered the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds as it unfolded after the Turkish invasion.

An all-out Turkish-Kurdish war has boiled over in northern Syria since the Turkish army crossed the border last Wednesday, Aug. 24 for the avowed aim of fighting the Islamic State and pushing the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia back. Instead of falling back, the Kurds went on the offensive and are taking a hammering. This raging confrontation has stalled the US-led coalition offensive against ISIS and put on indefinite hold any US plans for campaigns to drive the jihadists out of their Syrian and Iraqi capitals of Raqqa and Mosul.

The Kurdish militia ground troops, who were backed by the US and assigned the star role in these campaigns, are now fully engaged in fighting Turkey. And, in another radical turnaround, Iraqi Kurdish leaders (of the Kurdish Regional Republic) have responded by welcoming Iran to their capital, in retaliation for the US decision to join forces with Turkey at the expense of Kurdish aspirations.

The KRG’s Peshmerga are moreover pitching in to fight with their Syrian brothers. Together, they plan to expel American presence and influence from both northern Syria and northern Iraq in response to what they perceive as a US sellout of the Kurds.

DEBKAfile’s military analysts trace the evolving steps of this escalating complication of the Syrian war and its wider impact:

  • Since cleansing Jarablus of ISIS, Turkey has thrown large, additional armored and air force into the battle against the 35.000-strong YPG Kurdish fighters. This is no longer just a sizeable military raid, as Ankara has claimed, but a full-fledged war operation. Turkish forces are continuing to advancing in three directions and by Sunday, Aug. 28 had struck 15-17km deep inside northern Syria across a 100km wide strip.
    Their targets are clearly defined: the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwest Syria and the Kurdish enclave of Qamishli and Hassaka in the east, in order to block the merger of Kurdish enclaves into a contiguous Syrian Kurdish state.
    Another goal was Al-Bab north of and within range of Aleppo for a role in a major theater of the Syrian conflict. To reach Al-Bab, the Turkish force would have to fight its way through Kurdish-controlled territory.
  • The Turks are also using a proxy to fight the Syrian Kurds. Thousands of Syrian Democratic Army (SDF) rebels, whom they trained and supplied to fight Syria’s Bashar Assad army and the Islamic State, have been diverted to targeting the Kurds under the command of Turkish officers, to which Turkish elite forces are attached.
  • A Turkish Engineering Corps combat unit is equipped for crossing the Euphrates River and heading east to push the Kurds further back. Contrary to reports, the Turkish have not yet crossed the river itself or pushed the Kurds back – only forded a small stream just east of Jarablus. The main Kurdish force is deployed to the south not the east of the former ISIS stronghold.
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  • Neither have Turkish-backed Syrian forces captured Manbij, the town 35km south of Jarablus which the Kurds with US support captured from ISIS earlier this month. Contrary to claims by Ankara’s spokesmen, those forces are still only 10-15km on the road to Mabij.
  • Sunday, heavy fighting raged around a cluster of Kurdish villages, Beir Khoussa and Amarneh, where the Turks were forced repeatedly to retreat under Kurdish counter attacks. Some of the villages were razed to the ground by the Turkish air force and tanks. At least 35 villagers were reported killed.
  • In four days of fierce battles, the Kurds suffered 150 dead and the Turkish side, 60.
  • DEBKAfile military sources also report preparations Sunday to evacuate US Special Operations Forces and helicopter units from the Rmeilan air base near the Syrian-Kurdish town of Hassaka. If the fighting around the base intensifies, they will be relocated in northern Iraq.
  • Fighters of the Iraqi-Kurdish Peshmerga were seen removing their uniforms and donning Syrian YPG gear before crossing the border Sunday and heading west to join their Syrian brothers in the battle against Turkey.
  • The KRG President Masoud Barazani expects to travel to Tehran in the next few days with an SOS for Iranian help against the US and the Turks. On the table for a deal is permission from Irbil for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to win their first military bases in the Iraqi Kurdish republic, as well as transit for Iranian military forces to reach Syria through Kurdish territory..

Biden Gushes to Erdoğan That American People ‘Stand in Awe’ of Turkish ‘Courage’

August 25, 2016

Biden Gushes to Erdoğan That American People ‘Stand in Awe’ of Turkish ‘Courage’ PJ MediaBridget Johnson, August 25, 2016

(Erdogan’s Turkey is a transparently great “democracy” where some have human rights; Obama must be envious. — DM) 

biden erdoganVice President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands after a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on Aug. 24, 2016. (Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service Pool via AP)

Standing at the side of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during an Ankara press conference today, Vice President Joe Biden tried to soothe relations with the Islamist government by slamming last month’s coup attempt as “a violent betrayal by a small group of folks who were sworn to defend the very people that they say they care and love.”

“The attempted coup went to the heart of who your people are — principled, courageous and committed. And for a people who have struggled so long to establish a true democracy, this was, from my perspective and the president’s perspective, the ultimate affront. So my heart goes out to not just the government, but to the Turkish people,” Biden said.

Biden added it’s “hard for Americans to picture the possibility” of the military trying to overthrow the U.S. government “when they thought the president was on vacation with his family.”

The vice president toured damage to Turkey’s parliament left from the coup attempt.

“I can understand, Mr. President, how some of your countrymen would feel that the world didn’t respond to the existential crisis your country was facing rapidly enough, or with the appropriate amount of solidarity and compassion and empathy,” he continued. “And that’s why, Mr. President — you’ve known me for a while — that’s why I wanted to personally be here, and was asked by the President to personally be here to represent, to tell you and all of your colleagues and your countrymen how very, very, very sorry I am, the president is, the American people are for the suffering and loss you have endured.”

Biden added that “the American people also stand in awe of the way your countrymen respond to the way you respond personally — going on the Internet through, my guess is on Facebook — I’m not sure which vehicle you used — with a portable — or with a cellphone, telling your people to rise up, take back the street, do not let these terrorists, which is what they ended up being, steal their patronage, their — who they are.”

Erdoğan used Facetime during the coup attempt, filming from an unknown location, telling Turks to get into the streets and oppose the coup.

Erdoğan’s purge since the coup attempt has included basically any secular opponent to his Islamist government: more than 40,000 people have been rounded up, from soldiers to jurists to bankers and even teachers and a comedian. Human rights groups have charged that the rule of law has gone out the window as detainees have been kept in makeshift facilities without proper access to legal representation and suffering beatings, rapes and starvation. Erdoğan has also intensified his battle against the free press.

He has also demanded that the U.S. government extradite Fethullah Gülen, a onetime ally of Erdoğan turned opponent who lives in Saylorsburg, Pa.

A senior administration official told reporters this week that Turkey has filed four extradition requests, but none of the charges are coup-related.

“I personally, the president personally, the American people stand in awe of the courage of your people,” Biden gushed during the press conference. “And we understand, Mr. President, the sensitivities the Turkish people feel about international security. That’s why the United States is committed to doing everything we can to help bring justice for all those responsible for this coup attempt while adhering to the rule of law.”

On the extradition request, Biden said he knows “of no other case where as much time is being spent to make sure we find enough data to meet a court standing.”

“I suspect it’s hard for people to understand that as powerful as my country is, as powerful as Barack Obama is as president, he has no authority under our Constitution to extradite anyone. Only a federal court can do that. Nobody else can do that. If the president were to take this into his own hands, what would happen would be he would be impeached for violating the separation of powers,” he added.

Erdoğan said he and Biden “had the opportunity to discuss this failed coup at every extent possible,” once again calling Gülen’s progressive Islam movement a “terrorist organization” and stressing that Gülen “needs to be extradited to Turkey as soon as possible.”

He also demanded that U.S. authorities arrest and detain Gülen and his associates while considering the extradition request, and “I’m confident that the United States will take the necessary measures to cater to our expectations in that regard.”

Erdoğan also snapped at a reporter for using the term Islamic State during a question. “The Islamic State cannot be associated with terrorism. Daesh is a terrorist organization,” he said, using the pejorative Arabic acronym for ISIS. “They are terrorists. Islam is a derivative of the word ‘peace,’ or the prefix ‘peace’ stands for Islam, which is a derivative of Islam. A member of the Islamic faith can never engage in these massacres, in this carnage.”

Coup-Weary Turkey: Directionless and Insecure

August 8, 2016

Coup-Weary Turkey: Directionless and Insecure, Gatestone InstituteBurak Bekdil, August 8, 2016

♦ The more Ankara feels distant to Washington, the more it will want to feel closer to Moscow.

♦ As Western leaders call on President Erdogan to respect civil liberties and democracy, Erdogan insists he will consider reinstating the death penalty: “The people have the opinion that these terrorists [coup-plotters] should be killed. Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons for years to come?”

Turkey once boasted of having NATO’s second biggest army, equipped with state-of-the-art weapons systems. That powerful army now lacks command: After the failed coup of July 15, more than 8,500 officers and soldiers, including 157 of the 358 generals and admirals in the Turkish military’s ranks, were discharged. The top commanders who were purged had made up 44% of the entire command structure. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the military’s shipyards and weapons factories will be transferred to civilian authority; military high schools and war academies have been shut; military hospitals will be transferred to health ministry; and the gendarmerie, a key force in anti-terror operations, and the coast guard will be tied to the interior ministry.

Those changes leave behind an army in deep morale shock, with political divisions and polarization. Its ranks are suffering not just trauma but also humiliation. The Turks are lucky their country was not attacked by an enemy (and they are plentiful) at a time like this. Conventional war, however, is not the only threat to Turkey’s security. The Turkish army’s worst decline in modern history came at a time when it was fighting an asymmetrical war against Kurdish insurgents inside and outside of Turkey and, as part of a U.S.-led international campaign, the Islamic State (ISIS) in neighboring Syria.

The attempted coup not only quickly discredited the Turkish military but also left the country once again directionless in foreign policy. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been slamming his NATO ally, the United States, almost daily. His government big guns have been implying an American hand behind the failed coup by a faction of officers they claim are linked to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, once Erdogan’s best political ally. “The putschist [Gulen] is already in your country, you are looking after him. This is a known fact,” Erdogan said, addressing Washington. “You can never deceive my people. My people know who is involved in this plot, and who is the mastermind.”

The White House immediately denied Erdogan’s claim. Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said the U.S. was one of the first countries to condemn the failed coup, and noted that a successful one would have put American troops serving in Turkey at risk. “It is entirely false. There is no evidence of that at all,” Schultz said. “We feel that talk and speculation along those lines is not particularly constructive.” The failed coup has become a Turkish-American dispute — with a military dimension, too.

Erdogan also criticized U.S. General Joseph Votel, who voiced concerns over “the long-term impact” of the coup on the Pentagon’s relations with the Turkish military. According to Erdogan, Votel’s remarks were evidence that the U.S. military was siding with the coup plotters. The Pentagon’s press secretary, Peter Cook, flatly denied that claim: “Any suggestion anyone in the department supported the coup in any way would be absurd.”

Erdogan probably wants to play the tough guy and is slamming Washington day after day not just to look pretty to millions of anti-American Turks but also to pressure Washington in Turkey’s quest to extradite Gulen, presently the biggest snag between the two allies.

But there is another dimension to Erdogan’s ire: He wants to mend fences with Moscow.

Turkey’s relations with Russia were frozen after Nov. 24, when Turkey, citing a brief violation of its airspace along Turkey’s border with Syria, shot down a Russian military aircraft. Russia’s President Vladimir Putting ordered punishing economic sanctions, imposed a travel ban on Russian tourists visiting Turkey and suspended all government-to-government relations. Unable to ignore the damage, a repentant Erdogan conveyed regrets to Putin; the regrets were accepted and the two leaders are scheduled to meet on August 9, when the Turks hope that relations with Russia will be entirely normalized.

Normalization, unfortunately, will not come at the price of Turkish “regrets” alone. For full normalization, Turkey will have to digest the Russian-Iranian-Syrian line in Syria’s civil war — a pact which Turkey has loudly detested ever since civil war erupted in Syria in 2011. This will be another foreign policy failure for Erdogan and an embarrassing U-turn. But the more Ankara feels distant to Washington, the more it will want to feel closer to Moscow.

1375Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is attempting to repair badly damaged relations with Russia, even as he slams his NATO ally, the United States, almost daily, and accuses the U.S. military of supporting the coup attempt against him. Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) with Erdogan (then Prime Minister), meeting in Istanbul on December 3, 2012. (Image source: kremlin.ru)

Meanwhile, after the coup attempt, Turkey’s troubled relations with the European Union turned even more troubled. European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU’s deal with Turkey on halting the flow of migrants toward the bloc may collapse. “The risk is big. The success so far of the pact is fragile. President Erdogan has already hinted several times that he wants to scrap it,” Juncker said. It is not just the migrant deal that may entirely suspend Turkey as a candidate country for the EU.

As Western leaders call on Erdogan to respect civil liberties and democracy, Erdogan insists he will consider reinstating the death penalty. “The people have the opinion that these terrorists [coup-plotters] should be killed,” Erdogan said in interview with CNN. “Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons for years to come? That’s what the people say … as the president, I will approve any decision to come out of the parliament.”

Such a move would kill Turkey’s accession process entirely. Federica Mogherini, EU’s foreign policy chief, warned that if Turkey reintroduces the death penalty, it will not be joining the European Union. “Let me be very clear on one thing,” she said; “… No country can become an EU member state if it introduces [the] death penalty.”

The attempted coup not only destabilized NATO’s second largest army and exposed it to the risk of serious operational vulnerabilities; it also left Turkey at risk of engaging in potentially dangerous liaisons with playmates of different kind — Russia and Iran & Co. — at least for now.

Turkey: Systematic Torture, Rape of Political Prisoners

July 24, 2016

Turkey: Systematic Torture, Rape of Political Prisoners, Clarion Project, William Reed, July 24, 2016

torture

Will the diplomats in Brussels who advocate and push for the membership of Turkey in the EU please speak out in defense of political prisoners raped and tortured in Turkish police stations and jails?

Will the United States, which supports and finances Turkey, also turn a blind eye to these abuses?

**********************

Following the failed July 15th coup d’état in Turkey, the world witnessed how thousands of Turks dealt with their own Turkish soldiers who put down their arms and surrendered. Pro-government Turks beat, tortured and lynched their own soldiers in the streets – before the eyes of the entire world.

But torturing is nothing new in Turkey. It is an old political tradition. Kurdish political prisoners have for decades been exposed to appalling sexual and physical torture in Turkish jails and police stations.

The day before the coup, human rights organizations in Turkey announced in a press conference that many Kurds who have been recently arrested and jailed in the city of Sanliurfa, or Urfa, have been tortured and raped while in detention. [i]

Atilla Yazar, the head of the Urfa branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD), said that they have received complaints of torture from Urfa since 2015. “The detainees are first taken to the anti-terror branch (TEM) of the Urfa police directorate,” said Yazar. “Then they are taken to a cave. They say that they have been tortured heavily. Five of them are women. And they are still in prison now.”

Eren Keskin, the vice-president of the Human Rights Association (IHD), said, “A long time ago, Tayyip Erdogan, who was then prime minister, said that ‘There would be zero tolerance to torture.’ But I think there is boundless tolerance to torture.”

“The stories we heard from the detainees were horrible,” Keskin continued.

“I have been working in the field of torture for the last 20 years. But I did not hear some of those torture methods even in the 1990s, when torture and rapes were very commonplace.

“We see that torture is a state policy and it is systematic. It is not just Turkish soldiers or police officers who are involved, [but also] the prosecutors who do not question them, the doctors who do no not give them medical reports about torture, and the forensic medicine institute all carry this [torture] out together.”

Keskin explained, “Most of the people we talked to were civilian politicians who are members of the legal Democratic Peoples’ Party (DBP).  A detainee called Mazlum Dagtekin said that there is a cave of torture filled with tools of torture in the town of Ceylanpinar. He said that they [the police] torture people under the control and supervision of the prosecutor. First, they blindfold them. Then they put a sack on their heads. And they blindfold them again on those sacks. Stripping detainees naked is one of their primary methods.

“Mazlum also said: ‘They put my head in a well. They raped me. They stripped me naked. They inserted a nightstick in my anus. They made me sit on an armchair. They tied my feet with construction wires. They shackled my hands to the armchair. They hit my stomach and chest cavity with nightsticks and punches. Later they tied my hands with a wire and made me swing into a well. They urinated on me. One of the police officers took out his penis and told me to lick it. While all of these things were done to me, the prosecutor was there.’

“At night, they took Mazlum outside. They tied his feet and put a gun to his head. Then they gave him the gun and told him to kill himself. Mazlum told us that at that moment he wanted to die so much that he pulled the trigger without thinking about it at all, but the gun was empty. To bring a person to a point where he wants nothing else but to die is the worst of all tortures.

“Five women that we spoke to were exposed to heavy sexual torture,” added Keskin. “All of them were frisked bare-naked. They touched their bodies. They applied methods of torture that I cannot verbalize here. The women do not want us to express these things. For women who are exposed to sexual torture express what they have experienced with much difficulty. Due to the certain understanding of honor that is exposed on us, they are ashamed, scared and timid. We understand them. But we will write what they have told us in our report and present it to the United Nations.

“This is what all the detainees were told. ‘We are a special team. We came here from Ankara for you. We will commit all kinds of torture to make you speak.’”

Keskin also said that they were planning to file a complaint to the Turkish medical association about the doctors involved in rights violations. “When prisoners are brought to the hospital by the Turkish police, the doctors stick their heads in the vehicle and ask ‘Is there anybody hurt in here?’ The police say, ‘No,’ Then the doctors sign a report which states that there was nobody hurt in the vehicle. This is a clear violation.

“The doctors turn a blind eye to torture or they are forced to. For example, Inci Korkmaz, one of the victims we spoke to, had felt faint. They suspected that she was having a heart attack and took her to hospital. The doctor first told the police ‘not to take her back like that.’ But when the police insisted, the doctor gave her an injection and [let the police take] her back. This is against the Hippocratic Oath.

“The Urfa anti-terror branch is a place where people are openly exposed to sexual torture. We need to make a call to the states that Turkey has signed international treaties with since Turkey is openly violating these treaties,” Keskin said.

Currently in Turkey, the minister of justice has given an order forbidding political prisoners from talking to their lawyers. In addition to the numerous Kurdish political prisoners being tortured and grossly abused by the Turkish authorities, there are now thousands who have been arrested in the wake of the failed coup.

They now have nobody to speak for them.

Will the diplomats in Brussels who advocate and push for the membership of Turkey in the EU please speak out in defense of political prisoners raped and tortured in Turkish police stations and jails?

Will the United States, which supports and finances Turkey, also turn a blind eye to these abuses?

After 10,000 Arrested, it’s Time for the US to End Backing for Islamist Regime

July 23, 2016

After 10,000 Arrested, it’s Time for the US to End Backing for Islamist Regime, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, July 22, 2016

Erdogan Hitler

It’s funny how the media was far more outraged by the supposed attempt by the Turkish military to restore the republic than by the Islamist tyrant’s escalating crackdown which has now seen 10,000 arrested. That’s war crime level detentions. If the Turkish military had done this, they would be screaming their heads off. Yet 10,000 arrests by Islamists, just like the Muslim Brotherhood’s torture and abuses in Egypt, get a pass.

And that has to change.

Turkey is swiftly turning into an actual totalitarian regime with no holds barred.

Turkey entered its second day under a state of emergency as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled that the three-month period approved by parliament may not be enough to complete a purge of those responsible for last week’s failed coup.

Erdogan told Reuters that there’s no obstacle to extending emergency rule, which took effect at 1 a.m. on Thursday and was later endorsed by parliament. It allows the government to issue decrees with the force of law, and detain suspects for longer periods without trial.

And then the emergency rule will just be made permanent and Erdogan will declare himself a sultan. All of this is happening with the complicity of the US and the EU. And I don’t just mean the radical left.

Too few, even Republicans, were willing to come out against the Arab Spring or to back the Egyptian military’s restoration of the government. That’s why Trump’s mention of it in his acceptance speech was important. We should have backed the Turkish military to the hilt. And by “us” I don’t mean Obama, who has never met an Islamist Jihadist he didn’t love, but Republicans and conservatives.